In the most recent instance of British dock workers refusing to handle Russian oil, a tanker is still waiting in a dock near Manchester to be unloaded. The SeaCod remains moored at Birkenhead Docks, and does not strictly come under the UK’s ban on Russian shipping. Grant Shapps ordered a ban on “all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever”.
However, the Department of Transport confirmed this did not cover the origin of the cargo, including cases where oil and gas may have originally come from Russia.
Manchester dockworkers’ denial of Russian gas comes a day after a Russian tanker was stuck in the English Channel after dockers in Kent similarly refused to unload shipments of liquefied natural gas.
The tanker, named the Boris Vilkitsky, ended up sailing around the channel with no defined destination yesterday.
According to ship tracker Marine Traffic, the rejected vessel is now off the coast of Nantes, France.
Another vessel, the Moscow-owned NS Century, has been forced to circle the Irish Sea after leaving the Scottish port of Finnart, where the UK’s Trident nuclear arsenal is based.
Trade union Unison has also demanded that Mr Shapps expand his ban to prevent ships from docking at the Isle of Grain terminal, operated by the National Grid.
The union’s Matt Lay told the Mail: “The workers at the National Grid terminal don’t want to touch the cargo given the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.”
Russian oil has been a further source of controversy for oil and gas giant Shell, after it confirmed yesterday that it had bought crude oil from Russia.
The company stated that it had “no alternative”.
This came after Shell appeared to demonstrate support for Ukraine, when it announced last Monday that it will sell its stake in all joint ventures with Russian partner Gazprom.
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The UK’s imports of Russian gas doubled since 2018. According to Unison, two ships carrying Russian gas are due to arrive in Kent this weekend.
The Daily Mail reports that Russian exports have undergone a change in tactic, intentionally loading Russian gas onto non-Russian ships in Europe to avoid being prevented by sanctions.]
Labour MP Darren Jones, chairman of the Commons business and energy select committee, said to The Times: “Ministers must urgently map our exposure to Russian energy . . . and then set out what action will be taken to reduce that exposure to zero.
“We should do this in partnership with European allies and collaborate on a Europe-wide resilience package that cuts off Russian energy dependence as quickly as possible.”